Many NTT DoCoMo customers left over lack of iPhones
Japan's dominant mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo has lost market share to rivals Softbank and KDDI over the last couple of years, primarily as a result of defections from dissatisfied subscribers looking for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhones.
According to a study by Japanese research firm Kantar, and uncovered by The Next Web, two-thirds of DoCoMo customers who recently left did so because the carrier did not offer the iPhone.
No doubt that was a factor pushing DoCoMo to ink a deal this week with Apple to sell the iPhone in Japan. DoCoMo agreed to sell Apple's two new iPhones, the 5S and 5C, beginning next week.
One of the sticking points between DoCoMo and Apple was Apple's refusal to allow carriers to preinstall apps and services on the iPhone, while DoCoMo is developing a "lifestyle system" that includes preinstalled apps on the phones it sells.
Another area of concern for DoCoMo was its online app store, dmarket, a rival to Apple's iTunes store, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg noted that DoCoMo's share of the Japanese mobile phone market fell to 46 percent last month from a high of 52 percent in 2008. Apple had 36.1 percent of Japanese smartphone shipments in the latest quarter, compared with 20.6 percent for Sony and 13.9 percent for Sharp, according to IDC stats cited by the newswire.
Apple is also close to a deal with China Mobile to sell iPhones in China after receiving regulatory approval this week. Together, the deals with DoCoMo and China Mobile could increase iPhone sales by 35 million next year, according to an estimate by Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore cited by AppleInsider.